Prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and obesity: baseline findings of a population based survey in four provinces in Sri Lanka

Ceylon Med J. 2005 Jun;50(2):62-70. doi: 10.4038/cmj.v50i2.1571.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of selected cardiovascular risk factors in adult Sri Lankan population in four provinces.

Design: Cross-sectional, based on a stratified cluster sampling method.

Settings: Four provinces, namely the Western, North Central, Southern and Uva.

Patients: Six thousand and forty seven participants (2692 men) between the age of 30 and 65 years were surveyed.

Measurements: Risk factors measured included height, weight, waist and hip circumference. Waist to hip ratio and body mass index were calculated, and overweight (23 kg/m2) and obesity (> or = 25 kg/m2) determined. Hypertension (systolic blood pressure > or = 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure > or = 90 mmHg or use of anti-hypertensive medications), and diabetes mellitus (fasting serum plasma glucose level > or = 7 mmol/L or use of anti-diabetic medications) and impaired fasting glycaemia (> or = 6.1 to < 7 mmol/L) were also determined.

Results: The prevalence of hypertension as defined was 18.8% (CI 14.5-23.1) for men and 19.3% (CI 12.2-26.4) for women. The prevalence of diabetes was 14.2% (CI 11.9-16.5) for men and 13.5% (CI 6.9-20.1) for women while impaired fasting glycaemia was 14.2% for men and 14.1% for women. The mean body mass index was 21.5 kg/m2 (SD = 3.7) in men. It was lower than that in women, 23.3 kg/m2 (SD = 4.5). The prevalence of obesity was 20.3% in men and 36.5 % in women. Regional differences were seen in the mean fasting blood glucose and prevalence of diabetes, and mean BMI and prevalence of obesity were highest in Western province. Mean blood pressure and prevalence of hypertension were highest in the Uva Province. Southern Province had the lowest prevalence of hypertension and diabetes, and North Central Province had lowest anthropometric measures of obesity.

Conclusions: The prevalence of the selected cardiovascular risk factors is common in the adult Sri Lankan population surveyed. Regional differences exist in the prevalence of these risk factors. The prevalence of high level of risk factors requires urgent public health action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sri Lanka / epidemiology